Send contributions to:
Marc was born in Cambridge on December 21, 1968. He is a fourth generation Cantabrigian who attended Cambridge Public Schools. Marc attended college at both the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Boston, graduating with honors with a BA in Sociology.
Upon graduation, Marc began working at Special Adoption Family Services as a social worker for special needs children awaiting adoption. In this role, Marc worked closely with school systems and State agencies across Massachusetts, advocating for special education services for the children he worked with, and helping families navigate complicated state bureaucracies.
In 1996 Marc married Pamela Thilo and their first son, Nicolas was born in 1997. Nicolas is a third grader at the King Open School. At this time, Marc began attending the Simmons College Graduate School of Social Work, and earned his Masters of Social Work degree in 2001. Marc's second son, William, was born in 2000 and is currently in pre-school.
Since 2001 Marc has worked at the Manville School/ Judge Baker Children's Center, a school for children with special education needs. Marc is the Clinical Coordinator for the Upper School Program, a position that expands and continues his decade-long experience as an advocate for children and families.
Marc was elected to the School Committee two years ago and is seeking his second term.
Early Childhood Education: Working with children and families for over a decade has taught me how important early childhood education is to a student's life-long learning. I will work to expand our early childhood programs, to support them financially and to ensure that all children have a solid educational foundation from which to grow.
Enrollment: Enrollment in CPS has been declining for many years. I will make understanding, addressing and turning around this trend a priority (see question below)
Roles of the School Committee, the Superintendent, Parents, and the
The Superintendent is in charge of running the day to day operations of the school department, to ensure that all children are learning at high levels, and to make sure that all school personnel are working at the highest standard. The Superintendent must work in conjunction with the School Committee, parents and staff to create a healthy and supportive working environment that promotes learning, engagement and consistency.
Elementary School Programs and Administration:
Over my first term on the Committee, I called for various initiatives to be implemented District wide so that all children are having similar experiences. One such initiative led to the implementation of an anti-bullying program in all elementary schools. After review, it became apparent that some schools were dealing with bullying seriously and others were not. I want children in all schools to be safe. I want children in all schools to learn similar skills. Schools have unique ways of teaching, and that I support, but those philosophies should not mean that some kids learn skills that others do not. It is this belief that has led me to both respect schools' individuality but to lead the charge to make sure children are educated equally across Cambridge.
High School Programs and Administration:
The High School Extension Program, although only one year old, graduated virtually all of their eligible students, increased enrollment, has brought students back into the system who had dropped out, and is providing a supportive environment for students who were struggling at CRLS. Fears of the HSEP becoming a "dumping ground" for students have gone unfounded, and the program is growing.
The Rindge School of Technical Arts (RSTA) has gone from a program that was dismantled not long ago to one that is fully accredited in all programs. Students are being offered traditional vocational programs in areas such as automotive technology, carpentry and culinary arts as well as in cutting-edge areas such as biotechnology, engineering technology, graphic arts and media applications. Enrollment in these programs has increased and more students than ever are taking advantage of what RSTA has to offer.
We need to continue to build on this success. We need to do more to support students who are struggling. We need to continue to have a safe and stable high school. We need to continue to offer challenging classes for students who are above grade-level and link them with out-of-school internships and mentoring opportunities. We need to continue supporting clubs and programs that offer our children the best extra curricular activities in the state. The High School has turned a corner and we need to continue this progress.
School Department Administration and the Budget:
When cuts are being made at the school level, when we can't afford full-time specialists in every school, when we can't have foreign language at earlier grades, when we can't have full-time art and music teachers in each school and when we have to cut para-professionals, it is incumbent upon us to ask these tough questions and to make these difficult choices. I want our budget to fund the greatest educational experience and opportunity possible for our students not to continue supporting an antiquated, inefficient bureaucracy.
You will hear some Committee members claim to be leading the charge on this issue, however, I am the only member who consistently requested evaluation and documentation for our staffing numbers. I am the only member to have filed a motion directing the Superintendent to make cuts in Central Administration and re-allocate those savings to the schools.
Teacher Evaluations and Teachers Contract:
When other school systems saw massive reductions in the number of teachers, reduction in their benefits and salaries and saw teacher strikes, Cambridge had settled on a contract that was beneficial to both parties and ensured the highest standard of teacher support and performance. This contract was a positive achievement for both the system and the CTA.
State/Federal Role in Local Education:
The state and federal government need to increase financial support to local communities for education. They need to better fund programs for special needs students and for early childhood education.
Although high housing prices play a role in this decline, it is too simplistic to say real estate is the only cause. The fact is, we don't know exactly why people are leaving or not choosing CPS. That is why I will call for better and more detailed exit surveys to be done when families leave the system. In addition, I will call for the Superintendent to reach out to those families who live in Cambridge but are not enrolling their children in public school, so we can better understand their choices. I will call for a five-year strategic plan and call for a Blue-Ribbon Committee of educators, parents, business and community leaders to develop a strategy to turn the enrollment decline around and offer recommendations to rebuild our school population. Healthy, vibrant public schools are the centerpiece of a strong, diverse, competitive and economically dynamic city. We must grow our public schools to achieve this goal.
In my first term on the Committee I didn't sit back and let others do the heavy lifting. I raised challenging and difficult issues. I applauded our accomplishments but I critiqued our shortcomings. I asked questions that led to greater transparency and accountability and was not afraid to work closely with all of my colleagues but to stand alone when necessary. That is what an elected leader is supposed to do. I hope that I have earned your #1 vote on November 8th and I hope to return to the Committee because there is more work to do on behalf of our children, our families and our community.
|Page last updated July 01, 2007||Cambridge Candidates|